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Year of the Fires---the Story of the Great Fires of 1910--by Stephen J Pyne

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Queen of the Walkabout

Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Articles: 35
Comments: 1
 Posted: 7/31/2006, 6:10 pm

A very timely text given our last few seasons of fire. This book gives a sort of history of origin of the forest service and its' fire supression policies that grew out of a disastrous fire fighting season in the Rocky mountains in 1910. A fledgling forest service was in a political fight with the Dept of Interior, so plenty of "manuevering" of the powers that be also.
You must remember there were no tankers, no helicopters, and no trained smoke jumpers. Just the average Joe with some training, a pick and shovel and some supplies. Communications were slow and at a minimum. August of 1910 a huge wind created a conflagration which ended with 78 firefighters dead, some settlers trying to defend their towns and homes, and so much acerage ( in the millions) burned ash was deposited in Greenland and the sky yellowed out in Massachusetts.

Much was debated re the Indian way of allowing slow creeping burning of removing underbrush, and those in power at the time in the forest service, that all fire was bad news.

A really, really interesting book, factual but some drama too about how teams of frightened young men wet blankets and crawled in a creek to escape a crowning fire. How some made it and how some didn't. Leadership on the ground, and the decisions made.
Folks living in the fire lands should find this noteworthy reading.
Rating: 0.00/5.00 [0]

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